Non-conformity in Ickenham dates from 1831, when William Brickett and his wife invited some friends to join them in Sunday evening prayers at their cottage in Glebe Lane. The Bricketts had been worshippers at Providence Congregational Church, Uxbridge, and were encouraged by its deacons to begin services in Ickenham. The Bricketts’ cottage proved too small for the numbers who wished to attend.

In 1834, three Providence deacons were given the tenancy of a piece of waste ground in the High Road belonging to Ickenham Manor. A chapel was built at a cost of £160 and it opened on 3rd November 1835 when the Reverend John Hunt of Brixton preached the first sermon. In 1861 a schoolroom annexe was built and in 1921 a much larger wooden hall rose at the rear of the chapel.

Interior of old chapel, Ickenham High Road
Interior of old chapel, Ickenham High Road

In 1919 the chapel in Ickenham finally became fully independent from Providence Church, Uxbridge, but it was not until 1927 that the church had a full-time deacon. With the rapid growth of Ickenham in the late 1920s, the little chapel had become overcrowded. From September 1930, the village hall was hired for services.

A new site was bought in the Rectory Field, Swakeleys Road for the sum of £500. The new building was opened and dedicated on 7th October,1936 and has been in continuous use up until the first COVID-19 lockdown in March. However, with strict observance of Government and URC COVID guidance we have managed to start our services once more on Sunday 5th July 2020.

In 1953 the building was developed further with the addition of a church hall, and some other small rooms. The church hall was later dedicated to Mr S. L. Meggeson, whose untiring enthusiasm was largely responsible for bringing the new hall into being. He had held the office of Church Secretary from 1937. It was in 1982, using a bequest to the church from Stan Hardwick, that a comfortable room for meetings, improvements to the vestry and toilet facilities were completed with the room being dedicated in his memory.

Another landmark in our growth was the covenant of friendship and co-operation between Ickenham United Reformed Church and St Giles’ signed on 28th April 1985 and the beautifully handwritten parchments are on display in both churches. Our copy is on the wall outside in the Vestibule.

In 1992 the area between the main hall and the church buildings was enclosed to provide more internal accommodation. This also included new toilet facilities with an additional disabled toilet. Some funding for this project was provided through the URC. In 2006 the church sanctuary was re-decorated after an extension was made of the chancel area providing a greater raised space for the serving of Communion and for drama and other activities to enhance worship. The main church floor was carpeted and new internal doors were hung. The worship area contains comfortable chairs which can be linked together or moved about for different purposes allowing us greater flexibility and use of the sanctuary.

It was a bequest from the estate of Ted Wiseman, profit from the sale of the Manse in Swakeleys Drive and purchase of a new Manse in Lawrence Drive, loans from church members, a grant from the URC and a lot of hard work and effort from the Finance and Property Committee with years of planning, moved the church forward towards its latest building project. The building of our side extension was started in August 2017The idea and plan was to enhance the front and side area of our building and make its appearance more welcoming. The worship space was to become more integral to the whole life of the building and was hoped to have the church sanctuary opened on a more regular basis, and be available for private prayer and thought.

The church office was moved nearer to the entrance of the church building and be much more accessible and visible to those entering the building.

And finally it was proposed to have a “café” space at the side of the building where we have continued to explore the advantages that this space has added to our church life. All this came into being with the dedication service in June 2018 and has been instrumental in expanding our churches outreach to the community.

Since being asked to enhance and deliver this address I have discovered that as we celebrate the 189 years of non-conformist preaching in Ickenham and the 84th birthday of the building of this church, how much this church has relied and thrived on the dedication, hard work and ingenuity of its fellowship. The ‘behind the scenes team’ who have over the years given their love and devotion to this church and its members is unquestionable. Given the backing of finance everything has been achieved and will continue to be achieved in the future. As we celebrate our history we are reminded of our commitment to the present with it the service on October 18th 2020 being our annual Gift Day Service, where we have the opportunity to contribute to our next project for the church.

We finish with and entry found in one of our early history booklets and quote its closing comment which is very relevant to our church today

 Non Nobis Domine – To God be the glory both for all that is past and for all that yet shall be.

Amen

List of Ministers

E. A. Willis 1927-1932
William C. Franklin 1932-1934
J.R. Ackroyd 1941-1944
E. J. James 1944-1952
G. F. Barrow 1952-1962
Donald Howell 1962-1972
Robert Boulter 1972-1978
Alan O. Cassingham 1978-1999
J. Richard Landon 2001-2003
Bernie Collins 2007-2013

Taken from The Story of Ickenham by Morris Hughes